Reflecting on the World Juniors

Simon Stransky scores a goal during the regular season against the Brandon Wheat Kings ---- Dustin Saracini/Daily Herald

Simon Stransky remembers his time in Toronto/Montreal, recalls big goal against Canada

Canada had just taken a third period 4-2 lead in the quarterfinal game against Czech Republic.

In hostile territory, a comeback seemed bleak against one of the world’s hockey juggernauts. Although the numbers weren’t quite where they should have been at the Bell Centre on this Monday evening, the passionate fans were electrified as Julien Gauthier beat Jakub Skarek, all but punching Canada’s ticket to the semifinals.

This was before Simon Stransky of the Prince Albert Raiders backhanded a rebound to inch his country within one.

“It was an unforgettable feeling, that moment,” Stransky said.

“I’ll never forget that, it was probably one of the best goals I scored in my career.”

The look on his face on national television was purely euphoric as the forward celebrated with his teammates.

Number 23 was lurking near the left faceoff dot, to Canadian netminder Connor Ingram’s blind side. A turnaround wrister from fellow countryman Martin Necas ricocheted off the right pad of Ingram and onto the blade of Stransky, who promptly swatted the puck into the cage.

“I was kind of stuck on the boards,” Stransky walked himself through the goal.

“I saw the puck was going to the net, I saw my teammate, he was turning around to shoot the puck. I kind of knew it was going to go off the pads so I drove to the net off the boards. I saw the puck and it was on my backhand, which was pretty hard so I tried to shuffle it into the net.”

“The goal gave some life to our bench and some belief. It was only 4-3, but then they scored a minute after … it was a good game against Canada, it was great.”

Gauthier went on to restore the two-goal Canadian lead before the red and white skated past Sweden and eventually earned a silver medal.

Despite the loss, Stransky was proud to represent his country for the second straight year, this time with teammate Vojtech Budik.

“It was a great experience for me, not every player can have that chance to play two times,” he said.

“It was cool, two guys from the Raiders on the same team at the World Juniors, it was cool. He’s going to play next year and hopefully he’ll get a medal.”

Stransky, one of the more shifty playmakers with a knack for finding the back of the net, can now look forward to the possibility of inking a deal with an NHL franchise after seasons end. For now, the Ostrava product enjoys a leadership role with the Raiders, and will always have his World Junior memories to look back on as he continues to pursue the next stage of his career.